Homage to My People and the American Soldier

Live by the earth and of the earth; not being able to do so poisons my spirit. It’s lost to us, as individuals and people as a whole.

I don’t care what anyone says – people are different, cultures are different, languages are different, even the color of our skin is different and that’s okay. I’m not concerned with whether anyone thinks I’m racist. It’s not racist to say, “I’m American Indian,” because that’s what I am.

Some will say, “Forget the labels. We’re all Americans.”

True, but we are also diverse and when was it declared that it was politically incorrect to announce with pride our various heritages?

I’m an American but I’m also more than that.

I fell in love with a white man, took his name and carried his children. However, if our paths had crossed in the 1800’s, love between us wouldn’t have been possible, or easy. And if he had been a soldier, like he was when I met him, he would have been a great enemy.

Time can be kind, but also cruel.

My life is easier than it was for my ancestors but that doesn’t mean I’m happier.

I don’t speak my native tongue, I don’t know the ways of my people and I adorn myself in clothes that cloak my outward identity.

My husband always said I was loveliest when wearing what complimented my heritage, and yet, those precious things of the earth are hard to find; even the beautiful Buffalo, whose numbers are as few as we are.

I’ve always turned my nose up at expensive jewelry because riches of the earth poisoned the spirit of so many men and women who would kill for treasures rather than just enjoy the natural beauty that surrounded them and was free for all.

My culture may be lost to me, but not her breathtaking essence, which flows through me. I’ve carried a certain mindset that is “Indian” and that can never be taken from me.

White man’s ways haven’t brought me peace, but some of her people have. Many American Indian’s have a part of them that is empty because who we are as a people was destroyed and we were forced to accept a language and culture that was not our own. Can anyone even imagine how remarkably tragic that is? It’s a rape of identity and once identity has been lost, so goes hope.

Imagine your worst enemy coming into your home and taking from you all that you have and then saying it’s not enough. They will not permit you to speak your language, practice your religion, hunt and provide for your family, and the list goes on. The greed of your enemy is never sated and pretty soon you are left wandering, knowing what you seek can never be found – it’s gone forever.

I love America, the great land, but I don’t love how it came to be. I’m still fascinated by pioneer history but reading my history is quite painful indeedâÂ?¦

I’ve come to love the American soldier of present because he/she represents the courage of my people and they are willing to die for land and people.

Yes, the American soldier can be fierce but loyal and also generous. They remind me of the Indian warrior, which is why I pay homage to them so much.

I easily look past the handsome faces that are so clear-cut to others and I look deeper than the sharp uniforms and catch a glimpse of an ideal that is still acceptable.

If you don a uniform and serve your Country, know that I’m thankful, truly, but also that you bring me back to a time when the men of my tribes could be as you areâÂ?¦

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